Nation's oldest man dead at 112

Dec. 30, 2008 at 11:50 AM

SACRAMENTO, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- George Francis, who was believed to be the oldest man in the United States, died in Sacramento, Calif., at age 112, friends and family members said.

Francis, a New Orleans native who said he cast his last vote for President-elect Barack Obama, died Saturday, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Tuesday.

Francis had lived in Sacramento since 1949 and had worked as a barber, chauffeur and automobile mechanic. Of his childhood in New Orleans, Francis said he encountered famous people including musician Louis Armstrong and civil rights pioneer Booker T. Washington, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee reported.

Francis said Armstrong used to roam his neighborhood and play music on front porches, and Washington spoke to his third-grade class, urging the students to treat everyone with respect.

Francis' wife, Josephine Johnson Francis, died in 1964 at age 63.

Francis is survived by four children, 18 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren.

His death makes Walter Breuning of Montana, also 112, the nation's oldest man.

Gertrude Baines, 114, of Los Angeles, is the nation's oldest person, said Stephen Coles, a gerontologist who maintains a list of the world's oldest people.

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